Category Archives: The Levitt Effect

We’re thrilled to announce that The Suffers, an 8-member band hailing from Houston who blend musical influences as diverse as rock, R&B, country and reggae into a dynamic sound they’ve coined “Gulf Coast Soul,” will headline the 2017 Levitt National Tour. Now in its third year and created to celebrate the collective impact of the Levitt network of music venues in communities across the country, the 2017 Levitt National Tour will stop in six Levitt cities this July and August—Los Angeles; Memphis; Arlington, Texas; Denver; Bethlehem, Pa.; and Dayton, Ohio (home to a future Levitt Pavilion). This summer’s tour will invite Levitt audiences to experience these rising stars and critical darlings, hailed for their infectious rhythm and horns section mixing seamlessly with the sultry vocals of singer Kam Franklin. Continue reading

Summer has long been synonymous with outdoor concerts across the country. A simple search for “free outdoor concerts” yields hundreds of thousands of results coast to coast. Each year brings an increasing number of opportunities to experience free, live music in outdoor settings—from single concerts centered around a specific celebration like the annual Memorial Day Concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; to coordinated events like Make Music Day, when dozens of U.S. cities celebrate the summer solstice through free music performances; to weekly concert series like Summerstage in parks throughout New York City and free Levitt concerts in towns and cities across America.

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Levitt Pavilion Dayton Set to Open in 2018

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Image by Robin Feld

Dayton, Ohio is a city of innovators, inventors and dreamers. As home to numerous patents and inventions, the spirit of innovation permeates its entire culture. This is evident throughout the city, including in the ongoing reimagining of its downtown. Levitt Pavilion Dayton, located in Dave Hall Plaza—an underutilized public space sitting at the southern gateway to the city’s downtown—is set to play a major role in the revitalization of Dayton’s core and make it a welcoming destination for all. Continue reading

“Levitt at the Falls” set to open in 2019

logo650The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation is thrilled to announce that Sioux Falls, South Dakota will be home to a new permanent Levitt venue, presenting 50 free concerts every year featuring a diverse range of emerging and acclaimed talent. Set to open in 2019, Levitt Shell Sioux Falls will be located within the city’s beautiful and historic namesake, Falls Park, and will be known locally as “Levitt at the Falls.” This new venue will be part of the national network of permanent outdoor Levitt music venues with locations in Arlington, Texas; Bethlehem, Pa.; Denver, Colo. (opening in 2017); Houston (opening in 2018); Los Angeles; Memphis; Pasadena, Calif.; and Westport, Conn.

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Change embodies creative placemaking focus for Foundation

Last month, we announced some exciting news—the work of our national nonprofit, Levitt Pavilions, will be carried out by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation going forward, furthering our mission to strengthen communities across the country through free, live music.

Since 2005, the Levitt Foundation has awarded more than $20 million to its nonprofit partners and grantees to support free concerts in communities large and small. As Liz Levitt Hirsch, president of the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, explained, “This exciting change signals our resolve to direct the majority of the Foundation’s philanthropy towards creative placemaking programs that focus on free concerts in public spaces. With funding now geared to one main cause, it made sense to place the operations of our national organization under one roof and to function as the Levitt Foundation, thus sunsetting Levitt Pavilions.” Continue reading

What a difference a year can make! During the past year we’ve watched 10 Levitt AMP sites come to life—transforming underused public spaces into vibrant, music-filled community hubs. With the inaugural Levitt AMP Music Series coming to a close this week, we’re celebrating some of the many ways this free, community-driven outdoor music series has impacted the 2015 Levitt AMP grantees’ hometowns.

Public voting now open!Although the first Levitt AMP chapter is about to conclude, the next is already underway! The application period for the 2016 Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards has just ended and the applicant pool has nearly doubled from 2015.

Which brings us to some fantastic news! Recognizing our nation’s growing need to come together as communities, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve expanded Levitt AMP to 15 grants to be awarded across the country in 2016! That’s right, 15!

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Levitt venues

Pictured from L to R (top row): Levitt Pavilion Arlington; Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles; Levitt Shell Memphis; (bottom row): Levitt Pavilion Pasadena; Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks; Levitt Pavilion Westport.

Across the country, another spectacular season of Levitt concerts has come to a close, and we’re once again celebrating the undeniable power of free, live music to bring people together of all ages and backgrounds, creating stronger communities. Watch your favorite Levitt venue in action!

You may ask, who brings the Levitt program to life, year after year? Your local Friends of Levitt nonprofit, that’s who! Each Friends of Levitt manages, programs and fundraises for the 50 free concerts every year. This is an impressive feat when you consider the sheer number of acclaimed artists presented on a Levitt stage featuring a range of music genres; the first-rate production crews and state-of-the-art sound and lighting; as well as the additional programming and activities realized through local partnerships to create unforgettable evenings of free music under the stars. Rounding out the experience are the passionate volunteers whose friendly smiles and enthusiasm embody that warm sense of community found on Levitt lawns.

And yet the Friends of Levitt nonprofit is only part of the equation. Equally important is the community of supporters—audience members who donate on the lawn, businesses sponsoring shows, grants from foundations, and local family and individual donors—whose generous contributions ensure the free music continues each year at their Levitt venue. Continue reading

Mimi and Liz for Blog

Mimi Levitt and Liz Levitt Hirsch at the reopening of Levitt Westport, 2014

In many parts of the country, the name “Levitt” has become synonymous with “free outdoor concerts,” “revitalized spaces” and “citywide destinations” open to all. And for good reason—in 2015, more than 400 Levitt concerts will be presented in 16 cities, bringing the joy of free, live music to hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds across America, ensuring access to the arts and strengthening communities in the process. America’s largest free outdoor concert series is made possible, in part, by the generous philanthropy and forward-thinking vision of the Levitt family—the late Mortimer Levitt (1907-2005), whose humble beginnings inspired his lifelong love affair with free music under the stars, his wife Annemarie “Mimi” Levitt, and daughter Liz Levitt Hirsch. Since Mortimer’s passing in 2005, Mimi and Liz have taken the reins of their private family foundation, the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, and have led it with aplomb, honoring Mortimer’s legacy while directing more than $18 million in grants to support the core Levitt program of outdoor music venues presenting free concert series, along with other meaningful projects that invigorate communities through the arts. Continue reading

Levitt-AMP-Header_smallWith the first Levitt AMP Music Series launching soon, we’re thrilled to announce our new Levitt AMP website, your destination for all things Levitt AMP—from concert schedules to artist biographies to information about the unique places where each concert series will take place.

Which brings us to the topic of today’s post: place. Some people are born to a place. Others create it. The winners of the 2015 Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards fall into this second category. They are creators and activators, transforming underused sites—like a neglected horse farm in Lafayette, La., and abandoned railroad tracks in Cleveland, Miss.—into lively, music-filled community hubs as part of the inaugural Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series. Continue reading

Wedding bells, Peeps and everything in between

Levitt_Effect_Collage_alt_USE THISWith the excitement of the 2014 Levitt concert season winding down, you might find yourself wondering what becomes of that stretch of lawn you spent so many nights picnicking and dancing upon. As it turns out, quite a lot happens after the season ends!

Below are some fun and unexpected ways Levitt venues are being used both during and following the concert seasons, illustrating their role as year-round destinations.

Circles of life
We all know Levitt concerts are great places for dates. What’s more romantic than listening to incredible music on a warm summer evening under the stars? So it was only a matter of time before a Levitt Pavilion became the site of not just dates but an actual marriage ceremony! This past summer, Michele Frazier and Louis Cyr, a Texas couple who had their first date at Levitt Arlington, chose to return to the place where the magic started and tie the knot at the Levitt.

On a very different note, Levitt Arlington was also the site of a recent memorial service for a beloved local high school teacher. As a place where he and his family had always enjoyed spending time together, the Levitt was the most meaningful place to celebrate the life of this music lover taken too soon. As Cathy O’Neal, Communications Director at Levitt Arlington, explained, “It really struck home to us that this is such a big part of people’s lives now, not just where they come to hear a concert.” Continue reading